More than 12,000 volunteers from the Philadelphia region participated in 300 community service projects as part of the 4th annual Greater Philadelphia Martin Luther King Day of Service. The record number of volunteers made it the nation’s largest service initiative on the King Holiday for the fourth consecutive year and Philadelphia is the first city to embrace the service aspect of the federal holiday. Last year the Day of Service drew 7,000 volunteers.
Volunteers from all backgrounds, ages and sectors of the city transformed the federal holiday into a day of active citizenship and service to others, which reflects Dr. King’s life and work. Participants took part in a wide variety of service projects that included, renovating houses at Habitat for Humanity sites, preparing and serving food at homeless shelters, beautifying schools and recreation centers, holding legal clinics, cleaning parks, making quilts with senior citizens, training volunteers as reading tutors, reading books to children, teaching conflict resolution skills and performing plays about Dr. King and non-violence.
Many King Day of Service projects will continue throughout the year.
The organizers of the event have promoted the five-goals of America’s Promise/The Alliance for Youth to provide important fundamental resources for children and youth and encouraged all service projects in the region to embrace those goals.
The Greater Philadelphia Martin Luther King Day of Service has been organized and directed during its four years by Todd Bernstein, founder and director of The Citizenship Project, an organization which promotes active citizenship and volunteer service year-round, particularly among young people. The 1999 King Day of Service has also been organized by the United Way VOLUNTEER CENTER of Southeastern Pennsylvania, with support from the Philadelphia’s Promise/The Alliance for Youth.